NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted August 15, 2014

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 62
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The first and most obvious thing to notice about Conjunctions is that its biannual print anthology is enormous. This issue is more than 300 pages, featuring work by Brian Evenson, Laura van den Berg, Robin Hemley, Gabriel Blackwell, and others. The theme of the issue, “exile,” is addressed both literally and figuratively, with work often revolving around ideas of social exile and self-exile as well as physical displacement.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 28 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Based at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cream City Review is a fun, slim publication that opens its pages wide to different aesthetics and styles. There are magical stories set side-by-side with realist flash fiction, and in the middle of the issue is a special feature on Native writing. It’s rare that I’m able to say I have no clue what to expect from one page to the next in a literary journal, but in Cream City Review, that’s absolutely the case. This is not a criticism, though: instead of seeming scattered or overloaded, the journal is a merry-go-round of brightly colored poems and stories.

  • Image Image
  • Published Date August 2014
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online

With a mix of flash prose, short prose, poetry, and book reviews, decomP delivers an online literary magazine monthly, with a fair tasting of good literature and samples of audio readings throughout. Adam and Eve's marital and sex life comes to life in the first included piece, Adam Gnuse's "Adam, at Night." Although Eve is comforted by her child, Adam worries and is resentful about his eventual death, seeming to say that even in the beginning of life, the first man to live still questions life after death: "He wonders whether it will be like going back somewhere dark and warm, somewhere safe. Whether it will it be something like growing up. The thoughts don’t comfort him."

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 13
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual

This issue of Dogwood serves up a generous helping of surprising and original reading. The talent is evident; even when a poem or story can use more polish, I am interested and compelled to read on. A variety of styles is represented, some more experimental than others, but I never feel lost, either literally or emotionally, or feel that the writers draw too much attention to themselves at the expense of the writing.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

This issue of Five Points is an issue of reflection, from its opening tribute to Maxine Kumin, in which associate editor Beth Gylys remembers researching the literary friendship between Kumin and Anne Sexton for her college senior thesis, to the poems of Ellen Bass and Barbara Hamby, who reflect on meals of pork chops and fried chicken, respectively. We also have the reflective photographs of Vesna Pavlović through his project “Fabrics of Socialism” and Kirk West’s photos of blues venues, artists, and objects. The issue also includes interviews with Kumin, West, and Stephen Dunn.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Published at Lynchburg College in Virginia, this review has roots in the South as deep as James Dickey’s. But while its content aims “to maintain an artistic and intellectual connection” to Dickey and his work, the interpretation is generous enough to allow for a good mix of Dickey scholarship, original poetry, essays not about the author but maybe concerning things he would care about, and book reviews. One might say the spirit of Dickey is hovering over the journal, so that, for example, the wilder shores of the avant garde or identity politics do not appear in this issue. We are in recognizable Dickey territory the whole way.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 55 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

This all-poetry issue of The Midwest Quarterly was a treat that did not disappoint. I grew up in a rural community, population south of 4000, and we were the county seat: these poems spoke straight to my childhood. As with all good poems, I’m sure there are pieces here that will speak to city folk as well, but the trip down memory lane was outstanding for me. The only gripe I have about the entire issue is that there was no table of contents for easy reference, so it took some effort to relocate my favorites for closer inspection.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 45 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

Last month I reviewed Frogpond and noted it as one of THE journals for haiku enthusiasts. Modern Haiku is another of THE journals haikuists should be reading. This journal has been in continuous print since 1969, with a masthead of esteemed haiku experts, each a haiku household name: Kay Titus Mormino, Robert Spiess, Lee Gurga, Charles Trumbull, and the current editor, Paul Miller.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 204 Number 4
  • Published Date July/August 2014
  • Publication Cycle Monthly

Because the Poetry Foundation’s website is such a fixture of my online reading, buying an issue of Poetry always make me feel like I’m donating to public radio. Lifting an issue from the bookstore shelf and leafing through it, I can almost hear the faintly accusatory voice of a pledge drive broadcaster playing the guilt card, asking, “How often do you find yourself enjoying the vast resource that is the Poetry Foundation website, or sending the articles and poems you find there to friends? Isn’t that worth $3.75 a month to you?

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Numbers 91 & 92
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

With this double-issue blowout, River Styx celebrates its thirty-ninth year (“because who wants to turn 40?”) as one of the country’s most “thoughtful yet accessible” literary ambassadors. Boasting a long list of notable and returning contributors and brimming with poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art of great depth that’s also deeply entertaining, this issue is River Styx turned up to eleven. Nowhere is this more evident than in the issue’s poetry. Featuring new poems from Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Jeffrey Bean, Stephen Dunn, Albert Goldbarth, Ted Kooser, Lawrence Raab, Robert Wrigley, and A.E. Stallings, among others, River Styx’s latest issue is Xanadu for those who enjoy provocative free verse and formal poetry of a largely narrative bent.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online

After a brief interview with Denise Frohman and a note from Women of the World Poetry Slam Host City Chair, Wicked Banshee Press (a brand new online journal) plunges right into the poetry, and it doesn’t fool around with any feet-wetting. The very first poem sends a strong emotional sting with Tara Betts’s “Throwing Away a Wedding Dress.” Describing it as “dented and dew-dotted, dried / fondant, crumbling and collapsed / in loose folds,” a metaphor for the entire marriage.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online

Your Impossible Voice, a newer quarterly e-publication, has taken strides to give a great literary experience through the professional and engaging look of their website to the well-formatted work of their publication. As far as the work goes? Well, let's explore. Karen An-hwei Lee’s “Letter from Orange County: Twelve Fragments” falls under the category of nonfiction in this issue, and is a beautifully written homage to a past place, or rather to a current place that is no longer what it was, but I could argue that it could also fall under the category of poetry with lines like these...

newpages-footer-logo

We are currently in beta and welcome any/all Feedback.